• Liberal Viewers Prove Elusive For Left-Leaning MSNBC
    As a TV columnist and long-time writer on the subject of both television and radio, I have made this observation: Right-leaning people tend to flock to right-leaning television and radio personalities in much greater numbers than liberals flock to their own like-minded hosts. And that means MSNBC might be facing an obstacle that is possibly insurmountable. This observation is the linchpin -- the "secret sauce," if you will -- for the success of a slew of right-leaning media entities, the best examples being Fox News Channel and Rush Limbaugh.
  • NBC's New 'Constantine': The Devil Made 'Em Do It
    What possessed NBC to make this new series about an exorcist? A couple of things: The series, titled "Constantine," is adapted from a comic book series called "Hellblazer," which an NBC press release ballyhoos as "wildly popular." Comic-book adaptations make for popular movies and sometimes TV shows. NBC also must have believed that "Constantine" -- in which a modern-day exorcist named John Constantine is locked in a battle with the spawn of Satan -- would make for an attractive or logical companion to "Grimm," the other series NBC airs on Friday nights that is a modern-day take on the old ...
  • A Performance To Cherish As Lisa Kudrow Makes 'Comeback'
    I said it nine years ago and I'm saying it again today: In her HBO series "The Comeback," Lisa Kudrow gives one of the finest performances in the history of television. In the "mockumentary"-style series that had its first and only season nine years ago, Kudrow played an aging, former sitcom star who was turning to reality TV in order to restart her stalled career. "The Comeback" is making one of the most unusual (if not unprecedented) returns in the annals of TV, coming back for a second season after being out of production for nearly a decade.
  • Ebola News Coverage Reaches Saturation Point
    You know a story is reaching its saturation point when the coverage of the story becomes the story. That has been the case lately with the Ebola story. The quality and quantity of the coverage of this disease is being discussed all over the place -- adding to the quantity of coverage, but not necessarily enhancing the quality of it. Let's break it down. At the center of this story is a word -- "ebola" -- that almost everyone has heard of by now, but almost no one fully understands.
  • Stewart, O'Reilly 'Debate' On Race: Two Showmen Putting On An Act
    Suddenly, the future of race relations in the United States is in the hands of Bill O'Reilly and Jon Stewart, even though their "debate" on the subject last week was a big, phony act. Until they began their now-infamous "argument" about "white privilege" on last Wednesday's "Daily Show," I was unaware that this particular topic was top of mind with anyone recently. But apparently, it was on Stewart's mind, as he seemed intent on examining the debate question: Is there such a thing as "white privilege" in the U.S.?
  • From HFAs To The Oscars, Hollywood Awards Season Just Got Longer
    Just as retail stores seem to hang their Christmas decorations earlier and earlier every year, the Hollywood awards season seems to get longer too. Two awards-show announcements came just this week, including one about an awards show nobody had ever heard of before, and the other about the one awards show everybody looks forward to every year. The latter show is the Academy Awards, and the former is a new awards show called "The Hollywood Film Awards." Now the two are serving to bookend the ever-lengthening awards season -- starting with this HFA telecast on CBS Nov. 14.
  • Jay Leno On CNBC: One Rich Car Guy Talking To Other Rich Car Guys
    The new show will be about cars and the wealthy people who collect them -- that's about all we can deduce from the news release. "Tentatively titled 'Jay Leno's Garage,' based on his Emmy Award-winning Web series [which has been available to watch on NBC.com for a number of years], the program will premiere in 2015," said the release. "From classics to supercars, restoration projects to road tests, 'Jay Leno's Garage' is the place where Jay shares his passion for all things automotive, including best investments, valuations and the inner workings of the car collector's market."
  • 'Walking Dead': Extreme Violence Is Now Mainstream Entertainment
    For proof that the old "rules" of TV don't mean much anymore, consider this: The goriest, most violent show on TV is also one of the most popular. "The Walking Dead" is drawing the kinds of audiences that only a handful of shows can ever hope to attract these days -- and with 17.3 million viewers, it's approaching the neighborhood where TV's highest-rated, mainstream shows reside. It's difficult to get one's mind around the fact that a show this violent is scoring ratings in the manner of what used to be known as "mainstream" entertainment.
  • On NBC's New 'Marry Me,' Love Is Strange
    If love is blind, then that must explain why this guy named Jake loves this woman named Annie on NBC's new comedy series called "Marry Me." This show has its series premiere tonight, followed by the season premiere of another NBC sitcom, "About a Boy." if you choose to sample "Marry Me" tonight, you might be left with this question: Why does Jake love Annie in the first place? And here's another one: Why did my review copy of this "Marry Me" premiere contain so many four-letter words that I doubt will make it to air?
  • TV's Alaska Reality Craze Shows No Sign of Thawing
    National Geographic Channel has booked The Ice Bar for a party to promote two of its Alaska reality shows -- "Ultimate Survival Alaska" and "Life Below Zero" -- and intends to fly in a couple of personalities from these two shows for the occasion. The symbolism is clear: NatGeo is sending the message that reality TV shows based in Alaska are still cool, although a casual viewer of these shows might wonder if the nation's northernmost state is in danger of losing its frontier allure now that it's being overrun with reality-TV production crews.
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